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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
A novel about being Jewish and Gay by Wayne Hoffman
In Wayne Hoffman’s new novel, Sweet Like Sugar, a young gay man and an older Orthodox rabbi—who believes the Torah forbids homosexuality—find a way to bridge their differences and become friends
According to the Torah, homosexuality is forbidden. That injunction is what makes Rabbi Zuckerman, a frail old man, recoil when he learns that a new friend, a 20-something named Benji Steiner, is gay. These characters and their relationship anchor a new novel,Sweet Like Sugar, by Wayne Hoffman. It’s a story that takes on identity, personal secrets, and the search for connection. The novel is something of a departure for Hoffman, whose debut, Hard, took a much more explicit look at gay life, describing the personal and political engagement of a group of gay men in the late 1990s in Greenwich Village.
Hoffman is also the deputy editor of Nextbook Press, the book imprint affiliated with Tablet Magazine. He joined Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about the book, how his two careers—novelist and editor—influence one another, and his own experience finding acceptance as a gay Jew.